The Extraordinary by Brad Schaeffer (Post Hill Press 2021) tells the story of a family that is forced to confront both autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fourteen-year-old Wes is unable to communicate with anyone except his father, who calls him an Ex (extraordinary). Most others are Ords (ordinary). Wes’s father is a captain in the Marine Corp and returns home broken in body and spirit after a third tour in Iraq. Wes has no idea how to adapt to this new version of his father. He needs order – his day is regimented, and he follows a timed sequence that includes watching the entire movie version of Sound of Music every morning. Wes’s relationship with his mother and two siblings is constrained and sometimes confusing – he only feels love from his father. This is a lovely and emotional tale about how a family can be easily torn and not so easily put back together.
Brad Schaeffer was born in Baltimore, MD but grew up in a suburb of Chicago. After attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he lived in Chicago where he embarked on his dual career as both a commodities trader and author/novelist. He currently resides in New Jersey. His prolific and eclectic writing can be found in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, National Review, Daily Wire, and other well-read publications. His interests, as reflected in his articles, encompass a wide swath from business, to science, education, the arts, history, politics, social issues, and general day-to-day living. He is also an accomplished guitarist and pianist and can be found playing in local New Jersey clubs with one of several rock bands in which he has played over the years. He is the author of Of Another Time and Place (2018), which takes place in World War II Europe. It is a study of the conflicts that good men confront when compelled by national loyalty and indoctrination to fight for morally reprehensible causes.